EssaysSex & GenderThe Left

Tears and Laughter for Naomi Weisstein

A report from the memorial in New York City

Long a fixture of progressive culture in New York City, The New School opened its doors on September 20, 2015 to host a memorial celebration of the life, achievements, and activist causes of the remarkable Naomi Weisstein. Weisstein, who died last March at age 75, was a pathbreaking neuroscientist, woman in science, radical feminist, humorist, and co-founder of an all-women’s rock band (the Chicago Women’s Liberation Rock Band), before …

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EssaysSex & Gender

Affirmative Consent and Neoliberal Bodies

The individual yes vs. the social no

I am writing this with great relief as the “crisis” of sexual assaults on college campuses in New York State has finally been addressed through affirmative consent, or “yes means yes” legislation from Governor Cuomo. Having worked for years as the director of a college-based women’s center, having helped write a university policy to address sexual assault on campus, and having counseled many students who were victims and at times …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & Gender

The Mastery of Non-Mastery

A report and reflections from Kobane

As I write, the plug is being pulled on the steady-state.

Violence and tragedy take revenge on humanity through routinization. Sooner or later we become immune.

But is there a reverse process, such as Freud writes about in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, where the nightmare recurs so as to provide the anxiety that would have …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionReligionSex & Gender

Faith in Marriage

Religion, heterosexuality, and the Obergefell decision

On June 26, 2015 the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges added the United States to a growing list of nations that provide equal marriage rights to same-sex couples. In an impassioned majority opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, Obergefell overturned remaining state bans on marriage for same-sex couples and required all states to recognize marriages legally performed elsewhere. (I am among the historians of marriage whose amici curiae brief …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & GenderThe Left

Ireland’s Victory for Marriage Equality, Continued

How Irish was it? And how much of a victory?

I very much liked Sinéad Kennedy’s piece on the yes to same-sex marriage in the Irish referendum. I share her sense that the 62% yes vote on May 22 was an impressive progressive victory. At the same time, I strongly agree with her statement, “As a political objective, same-sex marriage sits comfortable with prevailing neoliberal ideology.” I would like to add a few comments …

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CapitalismEssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & GenderThe Left

Another New Kind of Marriage

Has fiscal conservatism found a partner in gay rights?

On Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision guaranteeing the right of same-sex couples to marry in every state in the nation. This landmark case concludes just as another marriage is crumbling: the marriage between anti-gay politics and fiscal conservatism.

Since the 1980s, Americans have grown accustomed to a national-level political discourse juxtaposing the buzzwords free marketssmall government, and family values ...

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